A PLANNED hostel for the homeless will bring drugs and crime to a quiet area, according to residents campaigning against the proposal.

Homeowners have formally objected to an application to create a hostel for the destitute in Cambridge Park, Wanstead.

They fear the hostel will lead to an increase in alcohol abuse, drugs use and anti-social behaviour.

Both St Joseph’s Convent School for Girls in Cambridge Park and Our Lady of Lourdes School in Chestnut Drive are yards away from the proposed site.

Campaigner Sue Masterson, 57, of Highstone Avenue, said: “It’s terrible news for our area.

“A lot of elderly people and families live around the site and we don’t want to see drugs and crime become a problem here.”

The hostel will house 23 homeless people if approved, but 19 objections from residents in Highstone Avenue and Chestnut Drive have been lodged.

The hostel would also sit adjacent to two care homes for the elderly - the Cambridge Nursing Home and The Chestnuts Nursing and Dementia Care Home.

Dave Flack, 62, of Highstone Avenue, said: "It will impact on other vulnerable parts of the community. The elderly around here are quite worried and there are young schoolchildren who use this route. There need to be greater measures to combat any anti-social behaviour or alcoholism that could well occur."

Staff would be on site between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday with only a security officer and waking staff available overnight, at weekends and on public holidays.

The lack of daily activities to occupy tenants was also criticised by the campaigners.

Mrs Masterson added: “These people will have a lot of time on their hands and it’s cheap enough to get a few cans of lager at the local off licence."

But a spokesman for homelessness charity Crisis said hostels were an important tool to battle poverty.

He added: "Sadly, homelessness exists in every community. Hostels are the last refuge for tens of thousands of people across the country who without them would be left to sleep on our streets.

"A well-run and funded hostel can be a vital link for people back into a home and job and at a time when homelessness is rising they are all the more necessary."

A date has not yet been set for the application by Fadipe in Enfield to be considered by the planning committee.

The hostel will impose strict controls to minimise risks, such as a no drug or alcohol policy, noise control, while those causing extreme anti-social behaviour could be kicked out.

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